The house, which takes its name from the Native American Ohlone word for “mountain lion,” was mostly constructed with salvaged materials. Its recycled steel roof, limestone fireplaces, kitchen hood, and hand railings were all built using the remains of a nearby 102-year-old granary and remaining elements were built from FSC certified cedar; the wood was collected from old barns in the area. Linda Yates and Paul Holland, the owners, also made sure that no paint or fossil fuels were used during the construction process.
Tah.Mah.Lah uses city water for taps, but it also treats the grey water from showers and blackwater from toilets, which is fed through subsurface irrigation to nourish the native grasses growing on the property. An underground cistern that is able to collect 50,000 gallons of rainwater also supplements this system. Heating is provided by a geothermal system that channels the Earth’s thermal energy to provide underfloor heating throughout the house. Energy needs are met thanks to a 7KW, 120-panel solar array that sits on the roof.
All of this and more is controlled by a Control4 monitoring system that can be set to perform a multitude of energy-saving tasks automatically. The entire house is also equipped with movement sensors that turn off lights in a room when it’s been unoccupied for 10 minutes. Overall, the house proves that even a building with a huge physical footprint can be designed to significantly reduce its impact on the environment.
Via Jetson Green